This post is not designed, in any way, to discount the issues that women face today when they pick up a magazine or turn on the television and find that their reflections are not accurately depicted in pop culture landscape, and I hope to God it’s not taken that way. This is a much more difficult issue for most women: Our culture sets unfair standards for females, and it sucks when many try to live up to those impossible standards. For instance, I saw an image of a former iCarly star on Buzzfeed this morning and it made me ill: No woman should ever aspire show off her rib cage. That’s not even something that’s photoshopped in, and as a dude with daughters now, I got a little shaky at the thought that some teenage girl might stumble upon her favorite “iCarly” star and push herself to look like that. There’s no shame in natural thinness, of course, but this image seems to celebrate an unnatural form of beauty.
Still, while this is an issue more complicated and complex for women, it’s not something to which men are immune. We feel insecurity, too. We have self-esteem issues about our bodies, as well. Most guys do not look like Joel McHale or Taylor Kitch when we take off our shirts. In fact, because society expects even less from us, we’re inclined to meet those lowered expectations. As a result, a lot of us are prone to letting it get away from us, and it can feel defeating. While fat guys on television — Kevin James, Jim Belushi — often manage to marry women with a heady mixture of sloth and charming sexism, the more doughy among television’s men often tend to attract women with enough wit to compensate for their spare tires.
This makes dudes feel good.
Indeed, it’s nice to see guys on television who cannot fit into Banana Republic’s skinny jeans and who wear a lot of hoodies to disguise their lack of six-pack abs. When we see a guy with a spare tire married to Anna Faris or dating Michelle Williams, it gives many dudes hope, even if it’s false hope that belies the fact that they’re not wealthy and on television or even half as funny. But we can aspire, can’t we? And we can aspire without wasting hours at the gym. If only we can reboot a beloved and long-dormant franchise with sophisticated wit and charm, Michelle Williams will love us, too!
Here are five guys who we see on television that make us feel better about ourselves.
Jake Johnson, “New Girl”
Jason Segel, “How I Met Your Mother”
Tracy Morgan, “30 Rock”
Adam Pally, “Happy Endings”
Chris Pratt, “Parks and Recreation”